Confirmed Again: San Francisco Rent Is Too Damn High and Oakland Isn't Much Cheaper

Categories: FYI, Housing

Scot Hampton
Cozy studio apartment for rent -- only half your paycheck!
New data from an apartment search engine has uncovered a not-so surprising fact about the Bay Area rental market: It's miserable.

Apartment List, which released a Rentonomics Data Report that provides information on rental trends across the top 100 U.S. cities, has declared San Francisco the second least affordable city in the nation. We spend 46 percent of our income on rent, versus "normal" cities where residents shell out 25 percent of their paycheck for rent.

What's more, rents have increased 6.24 percent since January 2013, according to Apartment List. San Francisco's average rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,824.99 while Oakland's is $1,514.43 (remember when Oakland wasn't cool and a one-bedroom by the lake was $800?).

See Also: Photog captures satirical pics of rental market in S.F

Other irritating facts:

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Prop. 13: No Easy Tweaks, No Matter How Well They Poll

Second thoughts?
It's remarkable how giddy this state's more left-leaning voters -- and that'd be most of us -- get whenever even the most tepid announcement is made about rejiggering Proposition 13. 

The 1975 ballot initiative, which froze property tax rates at that year's level and only reassesses them upon sale or transfer of a structure, is a prime example of the law of unintended consequences. The state's school system was eviscerated and our roads have been left to fend for themselves. Students can't read well enough to decipher signs warning of crater-sized potholes. It's not a good look here in the Golden State. 

But, in yet another Waiting for Godot moment, those hoping to do away with the iniquitous law were pleased by a recent poll showing major support for tweaking Prop. 13. The vast majority of respondents would favor reassessing business properties upon sale or transfer akin to residential properties. 

There's a problem here, however. It's damn near impossible to keep track of this if the business involved doesn't want you to. And, oftentimes, they don't. 

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Berkeley Girl Found Naked and Pepper Sprayed May Have Been Sex Trafficking Victim

Categories: Crime

flickr/Null Value
The disturbing scene in Berkeley yesterday -- a teenage girl found naked and pepper sprayed -- may have been the result of sex trafficking, police say.

The 16-year-old girl is still in the hospital after neighbors found her in the early morning hours on Wednesday at Piedmont and Ashby avenues, screaming for help. Neighbors brought the girl bottled water, which she poured on her body. She told police she had been raped.

The cops tell ABC News that they're not sure how the girl got there, but they think this might be a case of sex trafficking.

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Esther Ioane and Santana Williams Identified as Mother and Son Killed in Fire

Categories: Local News

screen grab from KRON4
Medical authorities say it was 32-year-old Esther Ioane and her 3-year-old son Santana Williams who were killed in yesterday's fire in the Sunnydale Housing complex.

The fire broke out just before 10 a.m. at 76 Brookdale Avenue. Mindy Talmadge, spokeswoman for the Fire Department told us that "there was a lot of commotion in the background -- lots of screaming and reports of people trapped in the building."

By the time fire crews arrived, people had jumped from windows to escape the heavy flames. But Ioane didn't make it. She died at the scene, and her boy was taken to a local hospital with critical burns. He died a few hours later.

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San Francisco Police to Kill Your Buzz on 4/20

Categories: Drugs

Gil Riego Jr
Nobody is going to kill his buzz
Thanks to the general chaos from last year's 4/20 gathering, a whole lot of city employees will be working this Easter. That is right, the most cherished and anticipated day in all of weed culture, 4/20, falls on Easter Sunday.

But before you pack your special glass bubbler and vape pen for a picnic of edibles, hash oil, and weed at Golden Gate Park, be warned: Cops will be everywhere (so will queer nuns). The city plans to crack down on this year's 4/20 festivities on Hippie Hill after last year's event spurred a lot of traffic, trash, not-so-sober fights, and underage drinking.

Almost 15,000 people descended on Hippie Hill last year on 4/20 to ingest marijuana and bask in the glory of weed culture, leaving behind 10,000 pounds of litter. The irony of earth-loving stoners littering 5 tons of garbage in a single afternoon wasn't lost on anyone. But it was not so funny to the Parks and Recreation Department which got stuck with a $15,000 clean-up bill.

After that, the city started making plans to ensure the marijuana extravaganza didn't get out of hand again this year.

See Also: Watch These Cops Confiscate a 2-Pound Joint

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Marijuana Blamed For California Drought; Almonds Get A Pass

Categories: Drugs, Marijuana

This used to be a weed farm
California is the fruit and nut basket of the world, with almonds, wine from grapes, stone fruits and citrus grown here available in China, Maine and many points in between. The state is also the country's marijuana garden, with more cannabis grown here than any other state, according to law enforcement estimates (us and Mexico, here to be blamed for your problems).

That's a lot of crops to grow in an extreme drought, like the one that's dried up most of the state. Yet it's marijuana, not wine grapes or almonds, that's being blamed for exacerbating the dry spell -- and it's marijuana that could drink up every last drop.

Recent stories in Mother Jones and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat claim that the state's outdoor cannabis industry could literally "suck California dry," killing off the state's famous salmon and causing other untold environmental destruction.

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Cab Association Director Steps Down Over Obscene YouTube Videos

Categories: Angry People, Tech

Trevor Johnson
A San Francisco cab official famous for his tirades against ride-share services stepped down yesterday, after a series of offensive videos surfaced from his private YouTube channel.

The videos, which bore titles like "Smack Dat Ass" and "Stupid Bitches," feature Johnson slapping the buttocks of a female passenger, relating a vulgar story about a drunk man picking up a transexual hooker, and chiding seven inebriated women as they crowd into his 4-seater taxi.

They were leaked in an email to the Chronicle and various other news outlets, as well as the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates rideshares and other transit services.

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Muni: The City's Schizophrenic Treatment of its Transit System

Thumbnail image for Oily bus.jpg
Jim Herd
Your daily Muni metphor...
Continuing a long, if not proud, tradition of knuckling under to whatever the hell the mayor wants, Muni's board yesterday voted to do away with Sunday parking meters

This was utterly and totally predictable. Muni's board is not an entity to which anyone should extend the courtesy of taking seriously. If you do, you must also buy into the notion of the dead rising from their graves to vote in Chicago or 105 percent of the electorate throwing in with Kim Jong-Un. 

So, yesterday, the Muni board obeisantly voted to do away with Sunday meters, a program Muni transit experts have been planning for at least five years. Muni boss Ed Reiskin told the media that it's all okay since the mayor doesn't ask for much. 

The mayor doesn't "ask" for anything. Press releases were ready even prior to the vote.

The notion of our "transit-first city" siding with transit experts over politicians is laughable. In fact, the very same vote to do away with hitting up drivers on a Sunday also called for jacking up Muni fares by 12.5 percent. Every day. 

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Taxi Cab Hits Woman in Union Square

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Police are at the scene of another pedestrian collision where a woman in her 60s was hit by a taxi cab as she walked through Union Square today.

Officer Gordon Shyy says police were called to the intersection of Bush and Stockton streets at about 12:36 p.m. regarding a collision between a female and a cab.

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Two Killed in Fire at Public Housing in San Francisco (Update)

Categories: Breaking News

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Update 12:52 p.m.: Terrible news: the child who had been critically injured in the fire has since died, according to CBS News.

One person was killed and another was critically injured in a fire that broke out at a public housing unit in the city's Sunnydale neighborhood, fire officials say.

Firefighters got a call this morning before 10 a.m. of reports of a fire at 76 Brookdale Avenue. "There was a lot of commotion in the background -- lots of screaming and reports of people trapped in the building," Mindy Talmadge, spokeswoman for the Fire Department, told SF Weekly.

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Stab Victims Too Drunk to Describe Suspect

Categories: DrunkSF

Gordon's is the real crime
Excess alcohol can hinder your ability to do a lot of basic things -- drive a car, eat a burrito slowly, and sit out that next round of drinks.

It can also make you a pretty lousy informer.

According to police, two men were at the intersection of Geary and Hyde just after midnight when they got into a verbal argument with a man in a wheelchair. The guy in the wheelchair reportedly pulled out a knife and stabbed one of the guys in the back.

The two victims ran off and flagged down some cops in the area.

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SFMTA Approves Free Parking on Sundays Again

Categories: SF Parking

Thumbnail image for Monopoly Free-parking.jpg
Not just for the Monopoly Man
Instead, you'll have to pay more to ride Muni in San Francisco.

Last night, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved its two-year budget which among other things did away with the very unpopular parking meter enforcement on Sundays.

The Board was following through with Mayor Ed Lee's request to ditch paid parking on Sundays after the transportation agency last year started shaking down drivers on the Sabbath to help plug ongoing budget deficits.

And it helped: Last year, the SFMTA collected some $11 million in parking meters and citations.

See Also Transit Riders Don't Like the Mayor's Plan to Make Parking Free on Sundays

More » Is Now Slightly Less Awful Toward Bisexuals

Categories: LGBT
GayborhoodBeat.jpg, whose sluttier sister site OkCupid is embroiled in its own queer battles, decided to throw a bone to bisexuals this week. A small one, anyway. A semi.

The subscription-based dating service, which has long required bisexuals to make two separate profiles if they wanted to date men and women, and hence pay for two separate profiles, is now allowing bisexuals the option to get one free, if he or she contacts its customer service department.

While this bi-one-get-one-free shtick does pose a sorta solution, it would make far more sense if Match revised its site to reflect the fact that bisexuality exists, and is an option its members would appreciate.

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Fire Burns Apartment Building in the Mission District

Categories: Breaking News
Update: 5:35 p.m.: The fire has been contained, and there are no injuries reported.

Original Story 5:02 p.m.News is rapidly spreading about a fire in the city's Mission District where heavy flames are pouring from the top of an apartment building.

Firefighters were called to the six-story building, located at 14th and Dolores streets, where a fire broke out on a deck and spread to the roof at about 4:42 p.m.

"There is water on the fire," a fire department official told SF Weekly just now. "We're not sure what caused it. Someone could have been working on it, or it could have been a barbecue."

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BART Passengers With Disabilities to Protest New BART Trains

Categories: Angry People, BART

via BART
Not everyone is excited about the brand new fleet of BART cars that's supposed to make your commute quieter, more comfortable, and less smelly.

BART riders with disabilities say the new fleet -- expected to roll out in the next two years -- actually offers less access for them. Specifically, the new design has added handhold poles in the middle of the entry ways, giving standing passengers something to hang onto while the train is moving.

But that pole is blocking the ability for wheelchair users and other riders with disabilities to access handicap seating, says Jessie Lorenz, executive director of Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, which serves 5,000 people in San Francisco.

The issue has motivated passengers with disabilities and activists to protest the grand opening of the new BART fleet tomorrow afternoon.

"Our message is simple: they need to remove the damn poles," Lorenz tells SF Weekly.

See Also: Here's a Chance for Riders With Disabilities to Experience the New BART Cars

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Mission Bay Fire: Report Indicates 5-Alarm Blaze an Accident

Categories: Local News
"A hot or smoldering object..."
A fire report made public today claims the spectacular March 11 blaze that engulfed a 176-unit mixed-use building was accidental, and likely triggered by "a hot or smoldering object." 

Hot or smoldering objects do tend to cause fires and, as early as March 12, welding equipment being used on nearly completed structure was fingered as the likely culprit for the immolation of 1200 Fourth Street in Mission Bay. 

The 5-alarm fire generated a mere 4-page report. Other information gleaned from the brief writeup: 

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Tourists Flock To Colorado, Where Crime Is Down and Marijuana Is Up

Categories: Marijuana

The scene from hell
Worldwide acclaim and fanfare greeted the unveiling of the world's first marijuana vending machine in Colorado yesterday. It was big news (somehow, putting weed behind glass in a box was so popular and lucrative it took several years to happen) -- but even bigger news should be that the machine hasn't been robbed yet.

In Denver, the biggest city in the country to experiment with marijuana legalization, crime has dropped in the three months since pot stores for adults opened Jan. 1, according to reports in PolicyMic and elsewhere.

That's good news for Denver, as it's due for a tourist influx in the next few days. The city is this weekend hosting the High Times Cannabis Cup -- and it's full-on full-melt madness, with as many as 100,000 people expected for the Sunday smokeout in front of the state Capitol building.

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Woman Stuck Under BART Train Last Night Is Alive

Categories: BART

Thumbnail image for rsz_crowded_bart__pride.jpg
Late for dinner again
The woman who was extracted from underneath a BART train last night has reportedly survived.

We read the good news on KTVU this morning which says a source told the news station that the woman had a head injury but was still talking.

BART trains came to a screeching halt just before 5 p.m. yesterday after the woman got stuck underneath a train at Montgomery Street station. BART was forced to close the station to all commuters for over an hour, causing massive delays along the entire system.

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Check Out These Awesome Images of Last Night's Blood Moon


If you are anything like us, you were asleep on the couch by 11 p.m. last night. In other words, not even a really badass-looking moon could keep our eyes open.

But thanks to moon buffs, night owls, and Flickr, we were still able to enjoy the Blood Moon that appeared last night.

And now you can, too:

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One More Time: Dodgers vs. Giants For Three at AT&T

Categories: Sports

You know the drill. It's the Dodgers and the Giants with first place on the line yet again. And it just never gets old, does it?

San Francisco faces its rival at AT&T Park this time, for the first of three beginning tonight, in what is the second of six series between the clubs. The Giants took two of three in L.A. to open the season and have won four of seven games since.

The Dodgers have won five of six and just beat the crap out of the Dbacks in a weekend sweep at Arizona. And doesn't everybody?

See Also: Baseball Predictions for 2014

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